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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (March 29, 2002 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---Marshall Islands and U.S. Compact of Free Association negotiators have agreed to the second delay of the next round of formal negotiations on Compact funding.

The talks have been put off from the first week of April to the end of April or early May, according to U.S. officials who say the reason for the delay is that the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has told the State Department negotiating team that it needs additional time to review the RMI’s funding proposal submitted earlier this month.

The RMI issued a funding plan to the U.S. seeking $1 billion over 15 years.

Meanwhile, Marshall Islands and U.S. negotiators held three days of technical discussions in Washington, D.C. this week on various Compact subsidiary agreements. The meetings aimed to move five agreements closer to approval as part of the overall renegotiation of Compact funding.

Under discussion were agreements on telecommunications, postal services, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation and Weather Service.

U.S. Ambassador Mike Senko told the Journal that the next formal round of talks had been put back to the late-April or early May period at the request of OMB, and is expected to happen shortly before or after similar talks take place with the Federated States of Micronesia.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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